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Prison Walls...

The dank and filthy stench of the cell rose like vapor through his nostrils. Staring blankly at the back of his eyelids and suppressing an aching cough that crawled from his chest to his throat, he reluctantly opened his eyes, only to be greeted by the same view that he had awoken to for the past three years. He slowly swung to his feet, and he felt the harsh sting as foot met cold concrete. After straightening himself, he shuffled towards the barred window hoping for a refreshing glimpse of freedom, but as he reached for the drawn curtain, he heard the high squeal of the warden, as he had every morning and night for the past three years.

The reoccurring and depressing event took place every morning at 6 o’clock sharp, but the message was always the same. It hadn’t changed in the three years he had been there, whispering the tired speech to himself, each word and tone and rise and fall, matching the warden’s squeaking voice exactly. He chuckled to himself. He was to be relocated to death row that day, and his execution would soon follow. He would soon embrace death, and escape the confines of this prison. He would finally take death over the concrete walls, metal bars, and jagged wire that stung the eye and relieved joy from the beholder. Already, his image and disposition had vanished from the average mans’ middle class existence, and soon it would from the rough sphere known as earth.

Thinking back, he coldly regretted the killings, and his pain throughout the events. The thought of the many families torn apart, and the many mothers shuddering at the mere mention of his name made his heart numb with regret and sadness, and these were the thoughts that chipped slowly away at his sanity. Each day the cold concrete drained away life and soul of this man, alone in that cell, for what seemed already like an eternity...

And then he heard it, the ceremonial marching coming down the cell block, but this time, rather than stopping short or passing his cell altogether, the men shrouded in black stopped solemnly at his cell door. With a quick glance and a blunt, “Come with us,” they had restrained his hands and feet, and without a sound other than their tapping shoes and his shuffling feet, the sad party retreated down the hall, towards blackness.

His home for the following few days-his last- was to be the customary windowless cell, stripped of all comforts, and equipped with only a hard slab for a bed and a cold metal floor. He paced from wall to wall and counted passing steps of guards, rising and falling as they went up and down the hall. No more speeches from the warden, no more mocking sunlight, only blackness, accompanied by the stale light that sprung on and off whenever a head count was taken.

At last the day came. Without warning the men returned to his new cell, to take him down the long hall, to the end. He walked with a quick pace, nearly escaping the drivers’ grasps, and between glances from left to right he would chuckle to himself, his end was soon to be, and escape came with that. Escape from this hell. He was shown into a small white room with what looked like an operating table in the center. Gazing at his reflection in the metal surface, he asked himself one last time why he was here, only to be reminded by the stabbing memories.

He hopped suddenly onto the table and nearly strapped himself onto the cold metal that would soon hold his lifeless body. He began to peer all about, hoping to spot the lethal syringe in the executioner's hand, that would stop the beating muscle within his chest and strip his brain of the harsh memories and feeling from his withered body eternally. Then he saw the cloaked man towering above his body, a stern look of determination and anxiety upon his face. He felt the dull sting of the needle as it sank into his arm and the flowing warmth of the serum as it coursed through his veins, numbing his soul, and his being. “Thank you“ he muttered under his breath, glancing once more at the executioners cold face... and then, he slipped into darkness.


The following comments are for "Prison Walls"
by sir_loofah_junkie

re: prison walls
I rather enjoyed the writing involved in this piece.

I had recently watched (again) Dancer in the Dark so the imagery you described was very fresh in my mind.

I felt the piece could have used more plot. The story lacked much conflict besides boredom and apathy of the central character. Although those would be fine, if explored more.


( Posted by: Zebralicious [Member] On: May 29, 2002 )

Good story and characterization--but I think it could definitely benefit from just a snippet of dialogue. Maybe only a line or two; and if you put great emphasis on it the story would be that much more powerful.

( Posted by: macman202 [Member] On: May 29, 2002 )

this story was so dark and was lovely after all the watered-down, happy stuff you find online nowadays. i need not tell you about the things other people have already commented probably are sick of hearing it. but please peel out some more quality stuff! i look forwards to reading it.
horacio would be so proud of you...

( Posted by: EternalAlice [Member] On: May 31, 2002 )

Not bad, I like depressing stuff. There were a few things that could have been done a bit better I think, so I'm going to list them here, and you can decide for yourself what to do about it.

First of all, description. Yes, it was very dark and depressing, but it's usuialy more effective to make us feel depressed out of pity for the character. Most of the descriptive passages were somewhat dry and almost cliche, such as 'cold regret', and 'numb insanity'. Either use more colorful, inventive prose, or more detailed sentences SHOWING why he feels the way he does, and how exactly he is insane. Get inside the character's head and shape him into something more than a generic doomed prisoner. If you want us to hate him, have him do something dispicable and let us watch, or if you want us to sympathise, give us a reason other than that he's cold, depressed, at his wit's end... or whatever; show us what he did to get where he is- motive can be a very strong factor- and give a hint as to wether or not he deserves this punishment.

But I did like it *blushes* I'm just obsessive about characters.

( Posted by: Zoe [Member] On: June 3, 2002 )

Its not so much what you have written but what you have omitted. The last meal, the warden's visit, the offer of confession and the feelings they evoke from the prisoner. The execution chamber is not a metal table in most cases it is now upholstered. There are windows to the viewing gallery which consists of victim's families and the prisoner's guests. So much is missing in the story. Terminology guards, screws, jailer, you over look descriptions of people. The story while an interesting topic and ripe with opportunity left me flat.

( Posted by: Txpoet [Member] On: February 24, 2006 )

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